Payroll company director counting his way to jail

07 August 2015

The director of three payroll and book-keeping companies stole over £250,000 to keep his business afloat by pocketing his employees’ tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and failing to pay VAT bills has been jailed for two years.

Andrew Bettis was the director of three companies based in Chelmsford in Essex that offered book-keeping and payroll services to local businesses. When HMRC officers visited the businesses to check their records they found that a number of VAT and PAYE returns had not been completed or contained wrong information. The investigation that followed revealed that Bettis had deducted PAYE and NICs from his employees between 2007 and 2014, but hadn’t paid a penny to HMRC.

Bettis was arrested and later charged on 15/05/2015 with eight counts of fraud and acting dishonestly by not sending HMRC the correct VAT and PAYE returns. He pleaded guilty to all the offences and was sentenced today at Chelmsford Crown Court to two years in prison and disqualified from being a company director for eight years.

Confiscation will be sought to recover the proceeds of his crimes.

Paul Barton, HMRC’s Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, said:

“Andrew Bettis worked in the payroll industry and knew full well he was acting fraudulently. However, he shamelessly used his employees Tax and National Insurance to fund his businesses. Tax was deducted and shown on payslips but the money was never handed over to HMRC. He also failed to pay the right VAT, giving him an unfair advantage over his competitors and other honest businesses who pay what is due.

This fraudulent and criminal behaviour is never acceptable and HMRC will work to bring to justice anyone involved in this type of criminality. Anyone with information about suspected fraud can contact the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Read HMRC’s full press release.